Friday, August 17, 2012

Upscale apartments coming soon

The Goochland planning commission voted 6-0 to approve a conceptual master plan for a West Creek apartment complex at its August 16 meeting.

Commission chair Courtney Hyers District 5, who expressed opposition to the concept of apartments in Goochland earlier this year, was absent.

The multifamily community, named “The Notch at West Creek,” will ultimately consist of nine buildings and an expected total of 254 units. The project is expected to contain only one and two bedroom apartments.

Phase I of the project, which includes three apartment buildings and resident amenities such as a clubhouse, pool and walking trails, should be under construction in the next few months. Edward T. “Chip” Kassinger, a principal in Kassinger Development Group, said that he expects leasing to begin in the summer of 2013.

Kassinger explained that The Notch at West Creek will be an Energy Star Certified community. This means that the buildings will meet the highest standards of energy efficiency and great care will be taken during construction to save as many trees as possible. Exteriors will feature rock and Hardieplank siding. The site plan indicates that the buildings will gently scattered among the trees on the 60 acre site. The project will be located south of Broad Street Road and east of Route 288 on the east side of a new four lane divided road to be built opposite the Wawa.

Some of the units will be able to access garages and all will be built with wide doors to accommodate handicapped access. Kassinger said that all buildings will include elevator shafts, but that only one of the inaugural apartment buildings will contain a working elevator. This will allow them to gauge market response and build accordingly.

The Notch at West Creek will be a very upscale community. Kassinger said that his company plans to retain ownership of the project and expects to manage it for years into the future. “We are big on 24 hour service and have employees on call all the time,” said Kassinger. He estimated that The Notch at West Creek would have six or seven full time employees at completion.

Rents are expected to range from about $1,200 per month to $1,500 for two bedroom units. This will not be “affordable” housing. Those who feared that these apartments would be filled with low income single mothers flooding the school system can rest easy.

Kassinger said that he expects The Notch at West Creek will appeal to young executives who work nearby and seniors who want to get out from under the burden of maintaining a house.

Indeed, Kassinger said that some of the communities his company has created include garden spaces for the residents.

There was no public comment on the matter and sparse discussion by the commissioners.

Principal planner Tom Coleman never quite responded to questions from the commissioners about requiring the Kassinger Development Group to escrow funds for installation of a traffic signal at the entrance on Broad Street. It’s hard to imagine that funds for a traffic signal would not be forthcoming, but it probably should be in writing somewhere.

Coleman did point out that traffic must breach those pesky VDOT warrant thresholds before an intersection can be signalized.

The Notch at West Creek will significantly increase the number of TCSD utility customers, increase the property value and have more folks paying ad valorem tax. This will add another dimension of residential options to eastern Goochland. Once built, few people will even know they are there.

On a related note, community meetings to discuss proposed changes to the Route 250 overlay standards will be held at Centerville Company. The first session will be on August 21 from 4 to 6 p.m. and the second will be on August 28 from 6 to 8 p.m.

The planning commission’s dark sky subcommittee will meet on August 22 at 7 p.m. in room 233 of the Goochland County Administration building, 1800 Sandy Hook Road in Courthouse Village.

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